Cost of attendance is not enough... what do we do now

ExtremeUnderdog

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  1. Attending Physician
    Hi Everyone,

    My school has told me that they only approve X amount as my cost of attendance, which is how much Stafford and Grad Plus will cover.

    The problem is that I have a family of 4 and my husband does not have a job right now. He quit his great job to move near my med school and has not been able to find another job. All of our savings were wiped out covering the the 46% difference between what we had paid for our house 6 years ago and what it was worth when it was finally sold at the end of last year. I talked to the school FA office and they said that they use a standard calculation and cannot give me any additional money.

    Does anyone have any ideas? Are there any private loans one can get for an amount above the pre-determined "cost of attendance"? (I don't want to ask my family for any money unless I have no other options.)

    Thanks.
     

    nontrdgsbuiucmd

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    1. Medical Student
      I know things have hugely tightened up in recent years on the loan side; consumer loans may be a short term option until your husband gets a job, just to tide you through? I'd suggest focusing on getting him out and searching for work as actively as possible; best book I've found for this is called "knock'em dead". It walks you through, step by step, exactly what to do. Best job sites I've found are craigslist and indeed.com; the latter is a web crawler that pulls job announcements from everywhere. Set a goal for number of contacts per day; I'd tried for 30 contacts per day when I was doing this; a "contact" was a call or e-mail to a firm, recruiter, or individual who could hire me. If he makes 15 contacts a day, it'd take twice as long to find a position; make 60 a day and it'd take half as long; there are jobs out there; I was in the market recently for a position, amidst the recession, and using these techniques landed one in around 3-4 months. But the search can seem long and difficult in that generally there's very little positive feedback, and often no response after applying for a position that seems a perfect fit. By the way many companies, including mine, have remote staff - my coworkers are in a number of different states, many work from home in professional level positions. I know some firms, like IBM particularly, do not require that one live in any one location, provided you're near a major airport. It is tough to travel with a family. It is tougher to be broke with a family. (I've been in both situations in years past)
       

      tkim

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      1. Attending Physician
        From your previous posts I'm guessing you're moving to SGU. That's a tough thing to move your entire family from the US to Grenada. I don't know what the FA rules are for SGU, but when I went to med school, the school would certify a larger amount for my family of three specifically for 'child care costs' secondary to my wife working a job. Once we had that increased cost certified, we were able to borrow the max grad plus and stafford and also private loans as well.

        I also read that you were not selling your house because of the market. Also a tough choice, but it also indicates that you are not without some assets.

        I'd bite the bullet and borrow from family. The alternative, barring increased loans, is to sell your house and use those as living funds. Of the choices, one sounds a lot better. Good luck.
         
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        ExtremeUnderdog

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        1. Attending Physician
          Nontrad... Thanks for the job searching tips. Unfortunately, it will be another year and a half before hubby can really get back to his career, but I will pass this info on to him so that he may use it to our advantage then.

          TKim... Thanks for your insight. You are very observant, I did start at SGU (after some nail-biting moments they did give me the green light this winter rather than making me wait), but we did end up selling our house at the end of this year (in May), and ended up pouring money into it so that the lender would not come after us for the difference. The extra money they are giving for childcare is just not quite enough... You are right, I should bite the bullet and ask my family for money.
           

          gman33

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          1. Attending Physician
            A loan from a family member can be a win/win. Grad plus is around 8.5% these days. Someone correct me if I'm way off.
            Very few investments are paying anywhere near that rate at this time.
            If you can find people who are willing to wait 4-7 years until repayment, they can make a good return if you work out a reasonable interest rate.
            Make sure to set the terms in writing so there is no misunderstanding.
             

            clinicallabguy

            Larry N. Gology
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            1. Fellow [Any Field]
              I'm in a very similar situation. The COA at my school is also a standard calculation, and cannot be adjusted for students with families (except for day care, and outstanding medical bills). I have a family of four like you, and like you my spouse will not be working unless she has to. We would prefer her to be at home with our kids.

              I got a private education loan that is not school certified, which means that the lender does not consult the school regarding the cost of attendance. Therefore, the school doesn't decrease the aid they have already offered you.

              This is the loan I applied for and received:

              https://www.wellsfargo.com/student/undergrad/education/

              I have friends that got direct-to-consumer non-school certified private loans like this one from several different lenders last year, but Wells Fargo is the only lender that I could find that was doing this now.

              Hope that helps.
               

              Buckeye4life

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              1. Resident [Any Field]
                I'm in a very similar situation. The COA at my school is also a standard calculation, and cannot be adjusted for students with families (except for day care, and outstanding medical bills). I have a family of four like you, and like you my spouse will not be working unless she has to. We would prefer her to be at home with our kids.

                I got a private education loan that is not school certified, which means that the lender does not consult the school regarding the cost of attendance. Therefore, the school doesn't decrease the aid they have already offered you.

                This is the loan I applied for and received:

                https://www.wellsfargo.com/student/undergrad/education/

                I have friends that got direct-to-consumer non-school certified private loans like this one from several different lenders last year, but Wells Fargo is the only lender that I could find that was doing this now.

                Hope that helps.

                If this can go through, you will literally be a Godsend. Thank you very much for the link.
                 
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